Genetics and our future

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by tochatihu, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    7,375
    2,667
    0
    Location:
    Kunming Yunnan China
    Vehicle:
    2001 Prius
    Y’all will survive (possibly benefit from) this basic presentation of genetics. With microscopes, >100 years ago, it was clear that chromosomes* were somehow involved. About 60 years ago came the structure of DNA, how it ‘commands’ molecular syntheses, and that chromosomes are really long DNA data files. About 25 years ago came genetic sequencing – reading those data files. About 5 years ago came CRISPR and its allied technologies – rewriting those data files in living organisms.

    I do not think that significance of this technological sequence can be overstated. Whether you feel God created every species, or that environmental pressures change species, there is now a third ‘kid on the block’. It is us. Whatever evolution was before, it is now, potentially, in our hands. I only write this because while media are attuned to sparkly ‘flavors of the month’, this is a Real Thing.

    Not a moment too soon; some might say. As human population grows, needs for ‘everything’ grow, and DNA editing can contribute to our enterprise. As it should! It may not remind you of Einstein’s view of nuclear technology vs. human wisdom, but perhaps there is a similarity.

    Ecology (ta dah!) could lead us here. But for me, ecologists are way behind the curve. Not only because they (we!) diddle within comfortable areas of expertise, but because political and financial leadership comes from political and financial leaders.

    Gene editing will surely continue in specific areas; economically driven. Its expansion depends upon (1) things not going well for us, (2) no other ‘fixit’, and (3) assessing benefits/harms better than we have ever done before.

    * Chromosomes only mean ‘colored things’ because chemical dyes made them microscopically visible. A weak beginning, but whaddayagonnado?
     
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    23,129
    12,979
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    No doubt some are working on weaponizing this technology. Your 'tribe' develops a modified bug and treatment at the same time. Scale production of the treatment and then release the bug. Treat your tribe.

    Bob Wilson
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    86,239
    38,142
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    oh great, this all sounds too wonderful.
     
  4. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    1,926
    1,339
    0
    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Model:
    ----USA----
    Will be interesting to see where gene editing goes now that CRISPR makes this task so much easier.

    Curing diseases: good
    Bringing back Woolly mammoths: fun
    Better Stronger Faster: hmmm
    Weaponization: what Bob said
     
  5. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    7,375
    2,667
    0
    Location:
    Kunming Yunnan China
    Vehicle:
    2001 Prius
    Bayer bought Monsanto, at least partially to modify crop plants. For sale of course. Some degree of governmental regulation already; more coming? Needed?

    Or would that be intruding on the Sacred Rights of Free Markets? That's the thing. Policy decisions ought to be informed by scientific insight.

    Just a thought, y'know? Don't anybody start throwing things :eek:
     
  6. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    5,843
    4,682
    0
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera (Gulf South)
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
  7. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    14,770
    6,581
    0
    Location:
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    As soon as the first wolf decided hanging out with us was the best course, humanity has been genetically modifying organisms to fit our needs. We didn't need modern genetic manipulations for weaponizing anthrax or making Canola oil. This is just a different tool to the same ends; good or bad.
     
  8. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    1,926
    1,339
    0
    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Model:
    ----USA----
    The first wolf that became a dog was like sticks and stones. Later genetic techniques with advanced breeding methods and crude gene insertion/manipulation was like the age of fossil fuels and gun powder. CRISPR is the new atomic age.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    86,239
    38,142
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    heard a talking head from monsanto on nor last year. he said all the right things, but i couldn't understand any of them.
     
  10. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    14,770
    6,581
    0
    Location:
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    The biggest issue I have with GMOis over the US patent laws, and how they are used to ruin farmers who don't want to grow it.
     
  11. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    7,375
    2,667
    0
    Location:
    Kunming Yunnan China
    Vehicle:
    2001 Prius
    My opinion, there is at most 'diffuse risk' from GMO. Related to how it does differ from natural selection and 'directed' selection (wolf->dog, etc.). In the latter two instances a novel gene occurs, and the individual bearing it survives into parenthood. Or not.

    In GMO plant seeds (for example) are put into environment in abundance. Leading to new viable seeds* is not the point. What is missing is negative selection pressure. That is novel.

    Hard to anticipate negative outcomes because of incomplete understanding of interactions among species.

    *One of the things Bayer cannot do with Monsanto technology is make plants that produce sterile seeds. This would guarantee them a captive market. I think it would be tough to enforce as they might lower germination efficiency 'just enough'. Plausible deniability, and desired marketing outcome.
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    86,239
    38,142
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    how close are we to j. park?
     
  13. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    7,375
    2,667
    0
    Location:
    Kunming Yunnan China
    Vehicle:
    2001 Prius
    DNA >300 ky old is pretty rotten. Unclear whether future tech can get past that problem.

    There are many other more recent extinctions that are more feasible, fascinating targets. Our genus Homo had 7 or so species 'back in the day'. Ice-age megamammals.
     
  14. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    14,770
    6,581
    0
    Location:
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    It was just easier for Monsanto to sue farmers and seed cleaners into destitution than develop a way to not have their patented product not cross pollinate 'open source' crops.
     
    FL_Prius_Driver likes this.
  15. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    7,375
    2,667
    0
    Location:
    Kunming Yunnan China
    Vehicle:
    2001 Prius
    I agree it is very easy to hate on GMO profiteering. As on epipen and other medical profiteering. But GMO is a costly activity; not a hackerspace. If the companies cannot make themselves nice, and govt/envtl oversight is curtailed (for whatever reason), then we might not do so well.

    Seems to me that large, 'conscientious' money has stayed out of GMO, and I don't know why. Gates, Google, and who else?
     
  16. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    5,843
    4,682
    0
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera (Gulf South)
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
  17. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    4,319
    1,526
    0
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    I
    The problem with GMOs is the profit motive determines all. Specifically, if a great GMO (mono-) crop provides very high productivity but carries the weakness of being wiped out by a single bug or fungus in one year, I can be pretty much assured the high productivity is all that is advertised. Having been raised on a farm, I never saw a genetic change with only positive short and long term advantages. What I did see is every genetic "improvement" was entirely evaluated by its short term financial return.
     
    bisco likes this.
  18. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    4,319
    1,526
    0
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    I
    Clearly Yes is the right answer, but then come the real hard decisions such as:
    1) Whose policy? Economic, Social, Political, and Environmental policies are very differentially affected. A high productivity mono-crop can have very positive economic returns while simultaneously having very negative environmental policy. Which policies rule?
    2) Whose scientific insight? Corporation funded research and Government funded research can provide very different insights, all of which pass peer review.
     
  19. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    14,770
    6,581
    0
    Location:
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    86,239
    38,142
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    looks like propaganda from the gmo crowd. not to say it is wrong.
     
Loading...